Database of the Week: ABC-CLIO Issues, Understanding Controversy and Society


Go behind the headlines and beyond the opinions to gain real understanding of today’s most pressing social issues with this innovative subscription database from ABC-CLIO.From terrorism to climate change, current events are an immutable part of our culture. But news sound bites and traditional databases often only scratch the surface in guiding us through a thoughtful examination of the issues.

Now, from the publisher with over 45 major educational technology awards, comes Issues: Understanding Controversy and Society, a rich online resource that offers a more thorough, informative path to studying enduring issues: one that not only provides clear answers but also helps users frame their questions. Issues: Understanding Controversy and Society helps patrons develop a true understanding of how society shapes and is shaped by controversy—by offering authoritative historical context, expert perspectives, and carefully selected primary and secondary sources on the most enduring issues of the day. Produced in conjunction with leading scholars and educators, the database offers a graphical, straightforward interface that highlights up-to-date facts and figures, then leads researchers through understanding the complexities of both national and worldwide issues by modeling ways to think about them beyond simplistic pro/con debates.

This thought-provoking database does more than provide simple lists of information and keyword searches. Structured to support the historical inquiry process, it helps researchers make connections between the past and present. Users can search 150 of the most significant social issues and 4,000 reference entries, including thousands of images and audiovisual sources, by reference category, broad subject, or single issue. They can also dig deeper and learn the story behind the issues and enduring key questions through background discussions and detailed thematic analysis of the issues from the perspectives of scholars. With Issues, students from a variety of classes and general researchers will find what they are looking for, ask better questions, and develop more sound conclusions. In short, you will leave our library more informed.

Series Features

  • Over 15,000 primary and secondary sources in each database, including government documents, photographs and other works of art, video clips, and historic maps support students with differing learning styles and abilities
  • A series of chronologically and thematically organized in-depth lessons and activities provide context for greater understanding of an issue and a starting point for research projects—all cross-linked to related entries

Title Features

  • Provides comprehensive coverage of 150 of the most studied controversial issues, with more added every year
  • Delivers 4,000 diverse entries providing scholarly research from experts on each of the issues
  • Includes primary source documents such as President Lyndon Johnson’s Voting Rights speech to transcripts of court cases (e.g. Gitlow v. New York, 1925) to animation of the Indonesian tsunami of 2004
  • With more than 3,000 images and hundreds of audio/visual files, this depth of multimedia content makes Issues a valuable addition to any social science collection
  • The explore section helps students develop critical thinking skills by offering analysis of current issues by historians and scholars, presenting multiple viewpoints, supporting primary source material, and questions for further discussion


  • Unlike other databases that aggregate information without providing context, Issues offers analysis and perspectives from scholars, a complete historical background of the issue, and supporting facts and figures
  • Content is written, selected, and organized specifically to help students understand and analyze the topics, guiding students in framing their own questions and supporting them in drawing sound conclusions about the issues
  • Ideal for everyone from the high-school debater to the undergraduate student to the general reader, Issues brings unique understanding to the topics that affect society on a personal, national, and global scale

Go to and click on the icon for this database!  See Mrs. Hamilton or Mrs. Fleet if you need a copy of our ABC-CLIO passwords.

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